Art That Makes Me... Hapi!
I recently had the opportunity to visit local artist Kristi Kohut at her Libertyville, IL studio. I learned about Kristi Kohut’s ‘Hapi Art’ about five years ago from my girlfriend who went to high school with her. We were on a college girls’ weekend and I distinctly remember my girlfriend Carrie saying to me, “You must check out Hapi Art. I think you’ll absolutely LOVE my friend’s work!’ She was right. Within a week I had ordered my first piece, ‘The Exotic Agate’ for our fireplace mantel.
My girlfriend and fellow blogger, (Grace In the Crumbs) Katy Rexing and I made a date to visit Kristi at her studio a few weeks ago. It was one of the best mornings I’ve had in a long time. We talked motherhood, entrepreneurship, laughed a ton, and learned Kristi’s story. I felt truly inspired when I left that day (I actually didn’t want to leave, ha!) I’ve been a big fan and a collector since the day I learned about Kristi, but now I ALSO want to be friends with her! She’s become so successful through this venture, but she’s one of the most down to earth women I’ve ever met.
Kristi’s career didn’t start as an artist. She was in the fast paced world of advertising for years. When her son was born, she decided to leave her agency to be home with her baby and experience all of those precious moments. It was during that time Kristi picked up a paint brush, and she never put it down. Her husband encouraged her to create a studio in their home. She found a joy she had never known before. She constantly wanted to create and found inspiration in everything from a permeating crack on the sidewalk to vibrant layers of agate rock. She loves the color and effect created when unexpected colors and textures are combined.
Fast forward ten years- Kristi has been featured in Forbes, Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, and Lonny to name a few. You may have also seen her artwork through West Elm, One King’s Lane, or Minted.
Kristi takes the intimdation out of the process and makes you feel so comfortable in a world that can typically feel ‘stuffy.’ She calls herself an ‘artlier.’ An outlier, but in the art world. Kristi’s art philosophy is quite simple: there are no rules. Ohhhhh, do I love that!
She wants her work to be uplifting and feel inclusive. It’s part of her mission to break down the stuffy barriers. With so much of the art world behind closed doors, Kristi wants her work to feel inviting to everyone!
Paintings is where it all began for Kristi, but she now has created and designed pillows, wallpaper, rugs, and 3d art as a part of her collection . I’m currently coveting this ’happy hour agate’ rug AND this ‘find your bliss’ print for our gallery photo wall to add a pop of color.
Check out Kristi’s entire collection here. I promise you’ll be inspired too!
These are the pieces we have in our home. I love that The Exotic Agate is the first thing guests see when they walk through our front door. And, the Love Shack print gave our black and white master bathroom the perfect pop of color it needed.